Matthew Seymour, right, and brother Chad finished 1-2 at the Tinman Biathlon.

Tinman brings Lependu
back into competition

By Cindy Luis

He stood in the back of the pack, waiting for the starter's horn. But at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Andrew Lependu was easy to spot at the Ala Moana Beach Park starting line.

What was harder to see was Lependu's nervousness as the run portion of the 19th Tinman Biathlon began yesterday morning. The former standout lineman for St. Louis School hadn't done much of anything athletically since breaking his knee right before the 1989 Prep Bowl his senior year. And, six knee surgeries later, the 30-year-old wasn't sure if he could finish the 2.7-mile running leg.

"That took a lot out of me," said Lependu. "That was the farthest I had ever run. We may have done 2 miles (at St. Louis), but it was nothing like this.

"I wanted to try the Tinman (Triathlon in July) and a friend thought I should try this first. I was about ready to give up before the swim, but when I saw this 70-year-old guy pass me, I knew I had to keep going. My goal was not to finish last."

Lependu wasn't last, finishing 119th out of 123, in 57 minutes, 18 seconds. He was well behind the winning time of 24:46 turned in by 18-year-old Matthew Seymour, last year's third-place finisher.

And Lependu also finished ahead of the two 70-plus athletes who entered the waters off Ala Moana Beach ahead of him. Lependu used a breaststroke for the entire 800 meters and passed Bill Pow, 74, and John Robertson, 78.

"I've done zero since high school," said Lependu. "Now I want to do the Tinman and lose some weight, get back down to about 250. Those are good goals."

Seymour may not be around to compete in the Tinman. The freshman at the University of Hawaii is training for the collegiate triathlon championships later this year in Arizona.

His incentives yesterday were to stay ahead of his older brother, Chad, and dethrone two-time defending champion Peter Hursty. Seymour had about an 18-second lead over his 20-year-old brother at the transition area on the beach and extended it to over a minute when crossing the time line at the Ewa end of the park.

"Peter was right there and it helped that my brother was pushing me," said Seymour. "It was time to step it up."

Chad Seymour finished in 25:54 with Hursty in 26:13. Deirdre Tennant won the women's division for the third consecutive year, timed in 26:30, to place fourth overall.

"I had hoped to beat my best time here but ended up about the same," said Tennant, whose 26:27 in 2001 was second only to Hursty. "It was a good race today, pretty calm waters and a good current in the swim."

Jenna Yancey finished second in the women's division at 30:01 and Lindsay Price third at 30:22.

The swim was Robertson's downfall. He heard one of the course marshals tell him to go in, and thought he was heading to the finish line. Instead, the marshal had meant for the Boston visitor to swim a little closer to shore.

"I got wrong directions and came in too early," said Robertson, the final finisher in 1:03:54. "And I couldn't catch (Pow)."

Robertson was the only entrant in the 75-plus age group. Pow, timed in 1:03:04, was second in the men's 70-74 age group.

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